Mitt Romney says that the anger of the 99%-ers is based upon envy of the 1%-ers, but like so many other things he believes about “the rest of us,” he has it wrong. We don’t hate rich people because they are rich and there is a critical differentiation that Romney and so many others simply refuse to see.
We want our kids to have it better than we did, so we believe in the American Dream and we applaud those who have lived it and prospered and earned their wealth and success. These people are models for our kids who will inspire them to break through barriers to create the cures for diseases and the products that will make our all our lives better. No, we don’t resent those who have followed that path and succeeded. We admire them.
The people who are resented by the American 99% are those who have become wealthy and continue to get even wealthier by keeping others down. And we resent the politicians who suck up and sell out to these people for their own interests at the expense of everyone else.
Be clear that these are people who have rigged the game, tilted the table against the poor, the middle class and even the upper-middle class. They have spent every waking moment since the inauguration of Ronald Reagan incrementally inching America toward a new economic and military feudal state and have done so by impoverishing all but the top 1%. They are creating an America of subsistence and poverty that is devoid of the American Dream for everyone but themselves.
Paul Ryan’s twice-proposed budget is designed specifically to throw more money to the 1% at the expense of our most needy people and tilt the game still further. The Catholic Bishops weighed in against Ryan’s budget, saying that it hurts the very people – our most vulnerable – that the church seeks to protect. They are right and he is not, regardless of the sweet face he puts on his proposal and the dismissive things he says about his detractors.
The way to reverse the upside-down world that Ryan and the 1% want to create and to stop the theft of the American Dream is to vote for candidates who will make that happen. It is about electing people who will put a stop to the glut of influence money in politics that makes guys like Ryan propose such regressive budgets. It is quite likely that your Democratic candidate answers that description.
So, the way to make a difference is to help the D candidate win, not because s/he’s a Democrat – that would be a dumb reason – but because s/he will vote in congress the way that makes sense to you. So, volunteer in their campaign. Hold an informational meeting for friends and neighbors at your house for your candidate. Their election staff will tell you how to do that. Volunteer at a phone bank. Put out a lawn sign and slap a bumper sticker on your car.
The issue is to be active, because passivity will breed more of the same as we are seeing now and our children and grandchildren will inherit an America that you couldn’t possibly recognize. I do not mean that as hyperbole; my own grandfather would not recognize America today, even as he was an ardent anti-New Deal guy and thought both the income tax and Franklin Roosevelt were the worst things on the planet.
Actually, I take that back; he would recognize this, because the unregulated greed that hurts Americans and led to the meltdown in 2008 and the continuing decline of the middle class is exactly what he saw as a young father in the 1920’s. He’d recognize the influence peddling in Washington, the dumb bubble economy, the spinelessness in congress and more. He would be waving a red flag and yelling, “DANGER” because he would have seen what happens when we do dumb stuff like we’ve done and he would be asking whether there is anybody who remembers history, because Santayana was right – in our refusal to remember history we were doomed to repeat it and we have done just that. The difference is that after Hoover, we learned our lesson and started to make things better.
Today the righties want to do things that will make things worse. The real question is why they would want that. The 1%-ers want that because it makes them richer and keeps them in control. The politicians want that because that way the rich people continue to throw money to them that perpetuates their careers and their wealth building and keeps them in control, too. As for why any Tea Partier would want that – more on that another time.
For now, just be clear that things will get worse unless we make them get better. It is up to those with a ballot in November to stop the theft of America. If we fail to show up, if we fail to man the barricades against this assault on the America we believe in, then the American Dream, that future we want for our children and grandchildren will be lost for generations. Tag, you’re IT.
Copyright 2019 by Jack Altschuler
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